Gov. Tom Corbett and other state officials have been named as defendants in a lawsuit for allowing the expiration of adultBasic, a former PA state health insurance program for the working poor. The suit was filed Monday in Commonwealth Court by three plaintiffs from southwestern PA, who are being represented by Caroselli, Beachler, & Coleman.
The complaint alleges that the state government is violating the law. Specifically, it violates the Pennsylvania Tobacco Settlement Act and the state constitution by allowing adultBasic funding to drop to zero. This is because state law, according to the complaint, requires that a portion of the annual tobacco settlement money go to adultBasic.
The Blue Cross-Blue Shield money is gone, but the tobacco money is not. Pennsylvania receives hundreds of millions in tobacco settlement money each year. Last year, the state received almost $350 million. The tobacco settlement money comes from a 1998 pact between the four largest U.S. tobacco and cigarette companies and attorney generals of most of the states who agreed to divide a pot of more than $200 billion over the next twenty-five years.
According to Bill Caroselli, "Pennsylvania receives significant payments from the tobacco settlements every year, and state law mandates that those proceeds go toward making Pennsylvanians healthier and that a portion be specifically directed to fund adultBasic." Specifically, the law says that 30% of the settlement money used for current health services should be shared between adultBasic Insurance and Medicaid programs.